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Guide to buying second hand

Just after the holiday season is a great time to buy second-hand appliances and gadgets; knowing the right questions to ask will ensure that you don’t overpay.

Selling old appliances and gadgets online has become more popular recently, and the influx of new products at Christmas time means that you’re more likely to find a bargain online. 

Buying second hand can be risky, but with caution you can secure yourself a great product at a fraction of the retail price.

Why is the item being sold?
The answers you’re looking for here are:

a) the device has been a faithful servant, but has now been replaced and is no longer needed, or,

b) it was a gift, was not wanted and has therefore barely been used.

Some people try to offload products that are faulty or didn’t live up to their expectations, and you don’t want to get stuck with their mistakes. Which is why you should also always ask…

Can I test it out?
If it’s a coffee machine, ask if you can come over and taste a cup, if it’s a home stereo system ask if you can listen to something on it (pick something that you know well so you can tell whether or not it sounds right). If the seller refuses without good reason, they might be hiding something. However, they might just want to avoid hassle and wasting time, so try to be as accommodating as possible. Remember that you might not be the first person to contact them and a few people may have left them hanging after wasting their time.

How well has it been maintained?
Different appliances and devices will require different care, and without it they can break down earlier than expected. Before you send a message to a prospective seller, have a look online to see how the device should be maintained or cleaned. Asking this can save you from buying something that’s on its last legs, and could lead the seller to lower the asking price. Either way, it’s a win for you.

Do you have proof of purchase? Or a warranty?
It doesn’t happen often, but people do sell stolen goods online. However, you might not need to be quite as vigilant say with buying a fridge as you would buying an iPad.

Does it come with the necessary accessories?
If it doesn’t, you might end up spending more money than you thought you would. For example, if someone has purchased a new computer they might want to sell their old one, but keep the screen, keyboard and mouse. Buying these devices separately might blow any money you will save.

Have you considered buying refurbished?
This is a question to ask yourself. If you’re not confident to buy something second hand, refurbished is a good compromise. A refurbished item will have been serviced recently and will often come with a warranty, for a much more affordable price than buying brand new.

Have you scored any bargains by buying second hand?

Related articles:
The top five weirdest gadgets in the world
Master your iPad with these six little-known iPad tricks
Why your refrigerator shouldn’t be perfectly level

YourLifeChoices Writers
YourLifeChoices Writershttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/
YourLifeChoices' team of writers specialise in content that helps Australian over-50s make better decisions about wealth, health, travel and life. It's all in the name. For 22 years, we've been helping older Australians live their best lives.
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